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The regulations aim to address excessive levels of certain substances in batteries, and will place the onus of the disposal of batteries on producers.

The Directive contains measures to cut back on levels of mercury, lead and cadmium in batteries brought to market from September 26 this year.

It also makes producers responsible for “the financing of the collection, treatment, recovery and environmentally sound disposal of waste batteries” from the same date.

From the end of September, consumers will be able to leave waste batteries at the place of purchase or other authorised points free of charge.

Environment, Heritage and Local Government Minister John Gormley said: “The environmental concerns related to batteries are linked to the materials they contain.

“This is particularly the case for mercury, lead and cadmium as batteries containing these metals are defined as hazardous. We must divert them from landfill.”

He also pointed out the benefits of using rechargeable batteries, because they save money and reduce waste.

The Irish regulations were compiled following consultations with figures from various relevant organisations.

Separately, the European Commission has adopted new industrial emission legislation that could have an effect on businesses in Ireland.

EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said that “industrial emissions in the European Union remain too high”.

Ben Meggeson

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